Turning Red is a coming-of-age film about a 13-year-old girl, Mei Lee. A crucial time in a young life where interests change, an interest in boys begins, and the turbulent years of puberty begins. Throw in a strict helicopter mother, after school chores and a group of bonded friends, and that’s a film in itself.
Mei is not the only one confused when she turns into a giant red panda for the first time in the bathroom! I wasn’t sure the red panda was real and was maybe a metaphor for Mei going through puberty, something her mother mentions when she won’t open the door! Something my son picked up on at the age of 10. So, it will be a talking point for certain ages.
I was reminded of the 80s film Teen Wolf when Scott opens the bathroom door in full werewolf mode only to be greeted by his father as a grey one. I was slightly disappointed Mei’s mother didn’t recreate that scene for us.
Mei embraces her red panda and uses this gift/curse on social media to raise funds to go to a concert, something that is on point. Styles would have Scott surfing on busses on TikTok every day if it made him money! A sign of the times.
The story grows as it goes along, and by halfway we were hooked following Mei’s defiance against her mother and family, figuring out her emotions, and making money to see her first every boyband. That I can relate to, only mine was NKOTB! Forgetting ourselves and getting engrossed in watching the ritual going wrong, we got a bit annoyed when we had to pause the film for the food delivery!
It has the potential to be a film to use to discuss puberty and how hormones and emotions are all over the place and can feel like a raging beast inside of you.
It is a fast-paced, family movie with a lot of talking points. It does have a Pixar feel to it and will be a film to watch more than once. Intense, and we loved it.
★★★★★ (from our 10-year-old)
Animation, Adventure, Comedy | USA, 2022 | Disney+ Original | 11th March 2022 | Disney | Dir.Domee Shi | Rosalie Chiang, Sandra Oh, Orion Lee, Ava Morse, Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, Tristan Allerick Chen, Anne-Marie